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Belarus Olympian seeks asylum: 'I'm afraid to fly to Belarus. They might send me to jail'

Author : 112.ua News Agency

Source : 112 Ukraine

A scandal erupted at Olympics 2020; it might be the most memorable one in recent years. At least in sports
19:30, 2 August 2021

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Kristina Timanovskaya is 24. She is a Belarusian athlete who specializes in short-distance running. The Tokyo Olympics became the first for Timanovskaya in her career. And, most likely, the last under the flag of Belarus.

Timanovskaya was at the center of perhaps the biggest scandal of the current Olympics, which, quite possibly, will have long-lasting consequences.

Related: Belarusian athlete Tsimanouskaya excluded from Olympic national team of Belarus

The essence of the scandal

The story began with a critical post by Timanovskaya on Instagram. In it, she criticized Belarusian sports officials who decided to put the athlete on the 4x400 relay without her knowledge.

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Context

Belarus has lost two relay participants. The fact is that they were not allowed to the Games due to the insufficient number of doping tests passed. Under current rules, it is the responsibility of the local federations to enforce the rules regarding the correct number of doping tests. Actually, hence the tonality of the athlete's post:

“It turns out that our 'very cool bosses' decided everything, as usual, for us. They messed with the girls who did not have enough tests to fly to their first Olympics in their life - and they decided to make a knight's move and launch me into the baton. Cool guys! Well done! "

At the moment Timanovskaya's post has been deleted. But this did not affect the speed of events.

What happened next?

And then they decided to remove Timanovskaya from the Olympics, although there was still a 200-meter race ahead of her. This is what the athlete said in an interview with the Belarusian “Tribune” outlet.

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“On July 31, the head coach of the national team, Yuri Moisevich, came to me. He suggested that I refuse to participate in the 200-meter race - to say that I had an injury, to withdraw and fly home. the moment they want to remove me only from the Olympics, but if I refuse and go to a distance of 200 meters, then they will remove me from the national team, lose my job and, perhaps, there will be some other consequences. But on August 1, after lunch, Arthur Shumak, a representative of our national team, and Moisevich, and I was told that in just a couple of hours I should be at the airport. I need to quickly collect my things and leave."

Timanovskaya added that she collected things for an hour and a half, trying to maximize the time.

“I corresponded with my husband, with relatives, we thought about what to do, where to go. We decided that I would come to the airport, and then I would go to the police.”

Related: Summer Olympics in Tokyo: Ukrainian shooter hits opponent's target by mistake

That's what she did

Already at the airport, Timanovskaya turned to the police and said that they were forcibly trying to take her out of Tokyo to Belarus.

As a result, the plane on which they were going to board her flew away without her. The athlete herself stayed overnight at a hotel in a Tokyo airport under the protection of the Japanese police.

“I’m afraid to fly to Belarus. Because there I may be put in jail. I’m not afraid of being fired or kicked out of the national command. I’m worried about my safety. And I think that at the moment it’s unsafe for me in Belarus. Right now. I am in the police, and then I will seek asylum. Step by step we will act. I plan to leave Tokyo, but not on the flight that they wanted to send me. Now I am under the protection of the police," the athlete notes.

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Timanovskaya also officially turned to the IOC with a request for help.

Reaction of Belarus

They said that Timanovskaya would stop participating in the Olympics "due to her emotional and psychological state."

“According to the doctors, in connection with the emotional and psychological state of the Belarusian athlete Kristina Timanovskaya, the coaching staff of the national athletics team made a decision to stop the athlete's performance at the Games of the XXXII Olympiad,” the official statement said.

Timanovskaya herself said that this was not true and the doctors did not examine her.

Related: Summer Olympics in Tokyo: Ukraine's wrestler loses in fixture for bronze

Asylum

According to the latest information, which has not yet been officially confirmed, Timanovskaya applied for asylum in Poland. Prior to that, the Czech Republic offered its help to the Belarusian athlete.

Update

Timanovskaya received a humanitarian visa from Poland. The Polish Foreign Ministry promised to do everything possible to help her continue her sports career.

Related: Ukrainians Kostevych, Omelchuk get bronze at Tokyo Olympics in mixed 10m air pistol

Current situation

The media published a recording of the conversation, presumably, Timanovskaya with sports officials. As noted by Nastoyashchee Vremya, in a conversation with Timanovskaya, sports officials call her act "stupid" and say that because of him "people may be left without work," so she needs to fly home.

“You come home, don't write anything anywhere, don't comment. So I gave you word for word, as I was told. If you want to continue playing for the Republic of Belarus, then listen to what they recommend to you. Go home, to your parents, anywhere. Let go of this situation. Otherwise, the more you twitch - like when a fly hits a web: the more it spins, the more it gets entangled.”

Soon, the athlete confirmed to Nastoyashchee Vremya that her voice was on the recording.

Belarus has officially announced the exclusion of Timanovskaya from the national team. They also noted that they are closely monitoring the situation and work in close cooperation with the organizing committee of the Games and the International Olympic Committee.

"In accordance with the Charter and the Olympic Charter, the NOC of Belarus is ready to further defend and protect the interests of all Belarusian athletes from any forms of discrimination, if any," the NOC stressed.

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